Esposito rubbed his neck, still a little raw from the rope that had been tied around it, and scanned the busy street for his partner. Almost an hour had passed since Castle and Beckett had shown up to save them, and the place was surrounded by cops and EMTs. He spotted Ryan shivering on a nearby bench and started towards him. He had swapped his soaked clothes for a spare pair of scrubs that had been in the ambulance and was swaddled in a thick blanket, holding a trembling cup of coffee in his left hand. "Hey," said Esposito, sitting beside him. Ryan didn't respond. "I got our phones back." He held Ryan's cell phone out to him, but Ryan, rather than taking it, just stared at it as if he had never seen one before. "Are you mad?" he sighed.
"No," said Ryan. "I'm cold." His teeth chattered as if to prove his point and he drew the blanket tighter around himself.
"You're mad," said Esposito. "You're mad at me." He'd been somewhere between dreading and expecting it, but he'd hoped that his partner would have at least warmed up a bit before this. It was hard for Esposito to defend himself to Ryan while he looked so weak.
"I'm not mad, I'm just quiet," he insisted.
"Mad makes more sense," said Esposito.
"Why would I be mad at you?" asked Ryan, turning to face him.
"I told a Yo Momma joke that almost got you killed!" said Esposito. "If Beckett hadn't showed up, you could be dead right now." That was true, but then again, that was always true. Ryan, Esposito, Beckett, even Castle- they were a team. Without Beckett, one or all of them might not have made it to this day.
"I laughed, didn't I?" Ryan pointed out. Esposito winced as Ryan coughed. He was acting tough, but Esposito knew that with the taste of the ice water still in his lungs, it must feel as if he were freezing from the inside out. "Can you call Jenny for me?" Ryan sighed, and Esposito remembered that he was still holding Ryan's phone. He held it out to him, but Ryan shook his head. "I can't dial, my fingers are still shaking."
"Oh, sure," said Esposito, sliding the cell phone open. "Her number's in your phone?"
"No, I haven't kept my contact information in my cell phone since… the Triple Killer incident." He could hear the way that Ryan had hesitated, embarrassed at his "failure," and remembered that night that he'd run into the apartment to find Ryan bound and unconscious on the floor. This was really not his year. "Her number is 8-" He stopped, realizing that Esposito had already dialed. He held the phone to his partner's ear so Ryan's hands were free to stay wrapped up in the warm blanket.
"Hey, Kevin," they heard Jenny say over the phone.
"Hi, Jenny," said Ryan. Esposito could see Ryan's shoulders literally relax upon hearing Jenny's voice. "I just wanted to let you know that I'm okay."
"Why wouldn't you be?" she asked, concerned. There was a reason he took several minutes out of his day, every day, to text her and calm her fears about his line of work. He didn't want to hide the night's horrific events, but he didn't feel like getting into everything over the phone.
"It was kind of an intense day at work," he said circuitously, thinking that "intense" was definitely a light word for it. "But I'm fine now, we got out. I'll tell you about it when I get home." He could picture her face, something between true worry and exasperation. "I love you."
"Alright," she sighed. "Love you, too. Bye." Esposito glanced at Ryan to be sure that the call was over before ending the call and setting the cell phone on the bench.
"You knew her number," Ryan said quietly. Esposito glanced up, surprised.
"You automatically knew her number," Ryan continued, "without me needing to tell you." Esposito chewed his lip, a little embarrassed about his being overprotective.
"Yeah, well, after you two got engaged, I thought it might be a good idea to be able to call her," he admitted. "You know, in case you were ever in trouble or I didn't know where you were." Ryan stared at him, surprised that his partner would take the time to memorize a phone number, not just add it into his own cell phone but memorize it, just for his safety.
"You know, aside from the fact that it almost cost me a kneecap," said Ryan, "that 'me and your mom' thing was hilarious."
"Thought we both might need a laugh," he said. After a thoughtful pause, he wondered, "What would you have done if it had been me getting dunked in that water?"
"I would have gotten my ass out of there," joked Ryan. He was beginning to warm up, and it probably had less to do with the thick blanket than with the fact that he and Esposito were beginning to return to their normal selves, to act as if it were any other day.
"Let me see that phone," said Esposito, grabbing Ryan's phone from where he had set it down on the bench.
"What? No," Ryan argued, reaching for his cell phone. Esposito stood and pulled it out of his reach, dictating while he typed a text.
"'Dear Jenny,'" he said, thumbs sliding across the keyboard.
"Hey!" said Ryan, standing up. He pulled the blanket around his shoulders like a cape.
"'I, Kevin Ryan,'" continued Esposito, "'thought that you should know-'"
"Cut it out!" Ryan swiped his phone back and dropped it into his pocket. There they were, goofing off among the sirens and the flashing lights, together 'til the wheels fell off.